US treasury secretary Yellen makes surprise visit to Kyiv, reaffirms Washington’s economic support to Ukraine

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The United States Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen makes a surprise visit to Ukraine, on Monday (February 26) to reaffirm Washington’s support and extend its economic support to Kyiv amid its ongoing conflict with Russia, reported Reuters. The US finance minister also met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and key government officials in Kyiv. 

The visit comes a week after US President Joe Biden’s surprise visit to the war-torn country days before the conflict reached its one-year mark. “America will stand with Ukraine as long as it takes,” said Yellen, as per Reuters. 

Subsequently, the US official also held a private meeting with the Ukrainian president where she reportedly praised him for his “leadership and resolve” amid Russia’s “illegal and unprovoked war.” Furthermore, she also lauded his efforts for taking measures which ensure transparency on how the assistance is spent.

After Yellen’s visit, Zelensky took to Telegram and said that the US has been “powerfully supporting us since the first days of this war not only with weapons, but also on the financial front”. He added, “It is necessary to further strengthen sanctions to deprive Russia of the ability to finance the war.”

Yellen’s staff kept her visit a secret until she left Kyiv as the US official’s schedule for Monday only read “meet with advisors and staff,” without any other details. Prior to her arrival, air raid sirens went off in the Ukrainian capital which later turned out to be a false alarm, as per Reuters. Yellen also laid a wreath at the Wall of Remembrance dedicated to Ukraine’s troops who have been killed during the conflict. 

Subsequently, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said that he and the US finance minister also spoke about additional sanctions on Moscow which included confiscating some $300 billion in Russian frozen central bank assets for Ukraine’s recovery. However, Yellen told reporters that there are major legal obstacles to making this move. 

While in Kyiv, the US finance minister also announced the transfer of the first $1.25 billion from the recent $9.9 billion package in economic and budget assistance to Ukraine from the US. Since the conflict began a year ago Washington has given more than $13 billion in economic aid and provided $50 billion overall including security and humanitarian assistance to Kyiv. 

Additionally, the US has also announced another billion-dollar package to boost the war-torn country’s economy. The finance minister said, “Our economic support is keeping essential public services running. These services maintain economic and social stability in Ukraine”. She added, “A sustained military effort cannot succeed without an effective government at home.” Yellen also visited a school in Kyiv where salaries of the staff are reimbursed from US budget support funds. 

(With inputs from agencies)


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